France 1940: Defending the Republic

Philip Nord


France 1940: Defending the Republic

France 1940: Defending the Republic

  • Title: France 1940: Defending the Republic
  • Author: Philip Nord
  • ISBN: 9780300189872
  • Page: 324
  • Format: Hardcover



A new perspective on the calamitous fall of France in 1940 and why blame has been misplaced ever since In this revisionist account of France s crushing defeat in 1940, a world authority on French history argues that the nation s downfall has long been misunderstood Philip Nord assesses France s diplomatic and military preparations for war with Germany, its conduct of theA new perspective on the calamitous fall of France in 1940 and why blame has been misplaced ever since In this revisionist account of France s crushing defeat in 1940, a world authority on French history argues that the nation s downfall has long been misunderstood Philip Nord assesses France s diplomatic and military preparations for war with Germany, its conduct of the war once the fighting began, and the political consequences of defeat on the battlefield He also tracks attitudes among French leaders once defeat seemed a likelihood, identifying who among them took advantage of the nation s misfortunes to sabotage democratic institutions and plot an authoritarian way forward Nord finds that the longstanding view that France s collapse was due to military unpreparedeness and a decadent national character is unsupported by fact Instead, he reveals that the Third Republic was no worse prepared and its military failings no less dramatic than those of the United States and other Allies in the early years of the war What was unique in France was the betrayal by military and political elites who abandoned the Republic and supported the reprehensible Vichy takeover Why then have historians and politicians ever since interpreted the defeat as a judgment on the nation as a whole Why has the focus been on the failings of the Third Republic and not on elite betrayal The author examines these questions in a fascinating conclusion.


Recent Comments "France 1940: Defending the Republic"

A short but well-argued refutation of the common perception that the abrupt collapse of French resistance to German invasion in 1940 was due to French decadence. Nord credibly argues that the sudden end of French resistance was prompted, not by a failure on the part of ordinary French soldiers and citizens, but by a betrayal of the French Republic by the military and administrative elites charged with her preservation. That seems to me consistent with the history of the Third Republic from its i [...]

An interesting, relatively short treatise on France's defeat in 1940, which seeks to make two broad points. The first that France was relatively well-prepared for war in 1939 and 1940 and therefore her defeat was a reflection of military, rather than political, societal, or moral failure. The second is that what was truly unique about France's collapse in 1940 (relative to the other states that fell to the Nazis) was the response - not a government-in-exile leading the resistance and hoping for [...]

The question Philip Nord poses is a very valid one: Why does history give France such a hard time regarding the build up to World War II and it's subsequent defeat, over those of other allies like Belgium, Britain and the United States? He argues that the general historical opinion that the French were done in by their own decadence is wrong, and that it was more ineptitude on the top military and governmental level. I found many of his arguments very persuasive, particularly that the French are [...]

The title of this book works on two levels. The author explores the efforts of the French Third Republic to defend against Germany in the run up to WWII and the German invasion of 1940. He also, to a great degree, defends the much criticized Republic's efforts. France's efforts to rearm in the '30's were late but no worse than others, and arguably better. French diplomatic efforts to prevent the war were likewise no more inept or unrealistic than others. French soldiers, if not eager for combat, [...]

This isn't aiming all that high, but it works on it's on terms. It's a very brief overview of what happened with an argument on why it happened. Sometimes the author presses his arguments a bit too much (like in the first chapter about France's pre-war diplomacy). Also, he could stand to spend more time introducing the main figures. The book reads like it's intended for a general audience - so he can feel free to spend more times letting us know who the main generals and politicians are. As is, [...]

tantor audiobook from may 2015


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    Published :2018-09-07T21:02:04+00:00